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Our DPS Weekly: Updated Guidance on Remote Learning Grading Policy

Apr. 16, 2020
Student smiling while using a laptop

Dear Team DPS:

Based on feedback we’ve received, we’ve made some adjustments to our grading policy for remote learning. Those details are shared below in a message from DPS Deputy Superintendent of Academics Tamara Acevedo.

Warm Regards,

Updated Guidance on Remote Learning Grading Policy

Over the last week, we received feedback from many high school students, families, educators, and leaders about our initial decision to move to a credit/no credit model for spring semester course grades. We have worked to ensure that Equity remains at the heart of our decision-making through these difficult and rapidly-changing times, and we want to be as responsive to student and family needs as possible. We know that our students and families are experiencing this crisis in vastly different ways, so we want to ensure that students who are not able to engage in remote learning to the same degree as others will not be disadvantaged by those challenges during this time.

In response to your feedback, we are adjusting our grading policies for the spring 2020 semester, in order to provide more flexibility — while continuing to have high expectations for all of our students. This decision aligns with that of other metro Denver school districts and considers feedback from national assessment experts.

What is the grading policy for students in grades 9-12?

The grades high school students earned in each course as of April 6 (the day before our first week of remote learning), will be the lowest possible grades they can receive for this semester — as long as students continue to engage in learning in accordance with their school’s remote learning plan.

  • Students will be able to improve upon their grade for the rest of this semester.
  • Students will be able to decide on a class-by-class basis which grading option they prefer — a letter grade or credit/no credit.
  • Additionally, it will be possible for students to make the choice to receive credit for a course instead of a letter grade until the end of the school year. Students should work with their school staff to make that change to their transcript.
  • For this semester, any F grades will be transcribed as “no credit”. Students will have the opportunity to improve a “no credit” at a later time.

What is the grading policy for students in ECE-8th grades?

Instead of numerical or letter grades, all ECE-5th grade students’ report cards will have qualitative feedback about how a student has or has not demonstrated understanding of the critical learning for the grading period. Schools will also provide feedback throughout the grading period if a student has not initially demonstrated understanding, and share opportunities to do so later in the summer or beyond.

Schools with students in grades 6-8 will make the determination of how to approach grading based on their school context and in partnership with their communities — adopting either a modified 9-12 model or following the ECE-5 model that best fits their context.

Does this grading policy apply to DPS charter schools?

Under state law, charter schools have the ability to attain a waiver to the DPS grading policy. The District-Charter Collaborative Council has established a framework to guide charter school grading policies that may differ from district guidance, rooted in our shared commitment to Equity in remote learning.

How will this grading policy work at my student’s school?

You will receive follow-up communication from your school with school-specific information related to the rollout of the grading policy by the middle of next week. If you have additional questions after that communication about how this policy will be implemented at your school, please reach out to the identified school contact.

We appreciate all that our community members are doing to put Students First to help our families make it through this unprecedented situation without losing ground on their students’ education. Thank you for your understanding and your feedback. Please take good care of yourselves and your families.

Tamara Acevedo
Deputy Superintendent of Academics